If you have always dreamt of a massive open-plan kitchen but are not quite ready to move in order to have one, maybe a kitchen extension is the perfect solution for you. Not only will a kitchen extension give you the additional room you are looking for but it will potentially also give you a much better flow of space and also add value to your property.
Let’s not sugar-coat it – a kitchen extension is a big job so planning is key. But don’t let this scare you. Here we will give you some tips as to how you can design, plan and cost the kitchen of your dreams and how to tackle any problem that you may encounter.
1. Planning is Very Important
It is important to be clear from very early on, as to what the layout for your new kitchen will be. This will help with the installation of all things electrical and plumbing. Think about what you want from your extension. Do you need room for a dinning space? Do you want a kitchen island? Make sure that your plan allocates enough space for these. You also want to make sure that your extension will be getting enough natural light as you may have to plan and budget for glass roofing or skylights. Every decision you make will have a cost attached to it so make sure that you know what you need, what you want and be realistic about what your budget will deliver. To be on the safe side, always have a contingency fund which should be roughly about 10 – 15 % of your initial estimate.
2. Choose an Architect or Designer
Once you know what you want, choose an architect or designer. They will be able to advise realistically on what is possible and guide you through the planning process as well as assist you with your budget. Make use of family and friend’s recommendations and try and work with a professional with the right qualifications. Don’t be shy to ask your chosen designer / architect to see some of their previous work and for references.
3. Understand the Rules
Once you have agreed with your architect on a design, you will know if your project falls under permitted development of if you will have to apply for planning permission. Your architect should be able to advise you on this. Even if the project falls under permitted development, you will still need to obtain building regulations approval from a building control officer. Building regulations apply to most work and ensure safety and energy efficiency. You can choose between a local authority inspector or a private one.
If you have to apply for planning permission, and your house isn’t listed or subject to restrictions, your architect can submit the plans for you. Allow at least ten weeks for applications to be processed. You may also require approval under the ‘Party Wall’ Act, which is a wall that stand on either side of a boundary of land belonging to two or more owners. Works with foundations within a certain distance of the walls will also fall under the act so make sure that this is sorted prior to commencing work.
For most kitchen extensions, you will find that a single-storey extension will suffice and as it happens, it is also the most planning permission friendly option. However, make sure you do not encroach too much into your garden as this could result in the works affecting the value of your property negatively. If you are extending a terraced house, a side-return extension is a great option as this will provide you with the desired extra space and bring in natural light if you choose to install skylights or a glass roof to the extension.
4. Find the Right Building Team
Just as with the Designer / Architect, you may want to start by asking friends and family for recommendations when looking for a contractor. Your architect or designer may be able to recommend a good team to work with.
5. Speak to a Kitchen Designer
You may want to do this at the same time as you are looking for a contractor. Whilst your architect may have planned a basic layout for you, these have to be interpreted by a specialised kitchen company. They will be able to fine-tune the design and come up with suggestions on how to make your vision come true. They will also be able to develop a detailed drawing that will include wiring and plumbing which you can then provide your contractor with.
Once all permits have been sorted work can begin. At this stage, all your ‘first-fix’ decisions, such as wall positioning, floors, ceilings, electrics and pipes should have been finalised. Once preliminary work is on the way, you can move forward with other design decisions such as finishes, light fittings and tiling. At this stage you should also have finalised a contract with your contractor. We suggest you use a contract that allows for payment against valuations, as we provide at Dominant Construction. This means that payments are made periodically once a percentage of work is completed. This will give you greater control over your project.
7. Final Stages
Once all building work and snagging is finalised, you can begin to lay your flooring. This will then lead to you being able to install all your cabinets and appliances.
Fitting of a new kitchen can take up to four weeks, so keep this in mind when developing your work schedule. After your cabinets have been fitted, your worktops will be templated, which can take up to 3 weeks. In the meantime, you can install lighting fixtures, hardware and do final decorating. Once your worktops are installed your kitchen should be ready!
If you are planning to build a kitchen extension we would love to hear from you. At Dominant Construction, we are always keen to have a chat on how we can help you build the kitchen of your dreams. Give us a call at 020 71186155 or make an appointment to come to talk to us in person at our office in Hammersmith. We are always happy to talk about construction with you .